MSF is known for its humanitarian medical work, but it has also produced important research based on its field experience. It has published articles in over 100 peer-reviewed journals and they have often changed clinical practice and been used for humanitarian advocacy. These articles are available for free, in full text - no login required. We sincerely thank the publishers for their permission to archive on this site.


Published Research and Commentary
Conference Abstracts
Programme Descriptions
Research Resources


  • Female Genital Schistosomiasis and HIV: Research Urgently Needed to Improve Understanding of the Health Impacts of This Important Coinfection.

    O'Brien, DP; Ford, Nathan; Djirmay, AG; Calmy, A; Vitoria, M; Jensen, TO; Christinet, V (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2019-04-15)
    Evidence suggests that there are important interactions between HIV and female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) that may have significant effects on individual and population health. However, the exact way they interact and the health impacts of the interactions are not well understood. In this article, we discuss what is known about the interactions between FGS and HIV, and the potential impact of the interactions. This includes the likelihood that FGS is an important health problem for HIV-positive women in Schistosoma-endemic areas potentially associated with an increased risk of mortality, cancer, and infertility. In addition, it may be significantly impacting the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa by making young women more susceptible to HIV. We call for immediate action and argue that research is urgently required to address these knowledge gaps and propose a research agenda to achieve this.
  • Lessons learned: Retrospective assessment of outcomes and management of patients with advanced HIV disease in a semi-urban polyclinic in Epworth, Zimbabwe.

    Blankley, S; Gashu, T; Ahmad, B; Belaye, AK; Ringtho, L; Mesic, A; Zizhou, S; Casas, EC (Public Library of Science, 2019-04-10)
    HIV continues to be one of the leading causes of infectious death worldwide and presentation with advanced HIV disease is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Recommendations for the management of advanced HIV disease include prompt screening and treatment of opportunistic infections, rapid initiation of ART and intensified adherence support. We present treatment outcomes of a cohort of patients presenting with advanced HIV disease in a semi-urban Zimbabwean polyclinic. Retrospective cohort analysis of adult patients enrolled for care at Epworth polyclinic, Zimbabwe between 2007 and end June 2016. Treatment outcomes at 6 and 12 months were recorded. Multivariate logistical regression analysis was undertaken to identify risk factors for presentation with advanced HIV Disease (CD4 count less than 200 cells/mm3 or WHO stage 3 or 4) and risks for attrition at 12 months. 16,007 anti-retroviral therapy naive adult patients were included in the final analysis, 47.4% of whom presented with advanced HIV disease. Patients presenting with advanced HIV disease had a higher mortality rate at 12 months following enrollment compared to early stage patients (5.11% vs 0.45%). Introduction of a package of differentiated care for patients with a CD4 count of less than 100 cells/mm3 resulted in diagnosis of cryptococcal antigenaemia in 7% of patients and a significant increase in the diagnosis of TB, although there was no significant difference in attrition at 6 or 12 months for these patients compared to those enrolled prior to the introduction of the differentiated care. The burden of advanced HIV disease remained high over the study period in this semi-urban polyclinic in Zimbabwe. Introduction of a package of differentiated care for those with advanced HIV disease increased the diagnosis of opportunistic infections and represents a model of care which can be replicated in other polyclinics in the resource constrained Zimbabwean context.
  • An Epidemic of Suspicion - Ebola and Violence in the DRC

    Nguyen, VK (Massachusetts Medical Society, 2019-04-04)
    Until the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Ebola outbreaks had been sporadic, small, and largely confined to isolated rural villages in Central Africa. But the 2014 epidemic broke all the rules and killed more than 15,000 people; since then, more outbreaks have been reaching larger urban centers, sometimes resulting in uncontrolled spread. The current epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has triggered a massive international response, which has been met by violence, culminating in attacks at the end of February that partially destroyed Ebola treatment units in the regional hub of Butembo and its township, Katwa. This area is the epicenter of the epidemic, which is likely to be fueled by any breakdown of isolation and treatment efforts.
  • 2017 Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Northern Democratic Republic of Congo

    Nsio, J; Kapetshi, J; Makiala, S; Raymond, F; Tshapenda, G; Boucher, N; Corbeil, J; Okitandjate, A; Mbuyi, G; Kiyele, M; Mondonge, V; Kikoo, MJ; Van Herp, M; Barboza, P; Petrucci, R; Benedetti, G; Formenty, P; Muzinga, BM; Kalenga, OI; Ahuka, S; Fausther-Bovendo, H; Ilunga, BK; Kobinger, GP; Muyembe, JJT (Oxford University Press, 2019-04-03)
    Background In 2017, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recorded its eighth Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak, approximately 3 years after the previous outbreak. Methods Suspect cases of EVD were identified on the basis of clinical and epidemiological information. Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis or serological testing was used to confirm Ebola virus infection in suspected cases. The causative virus was later sequenced from a RT-PCR–positive individual and assessed using phylogenetic analysis. Results Three probable and 5 laboratory-confirmed cases of EVD were recorded between 27 March and 1 July 2017 in the DRC. Fifty percent of cases died from the infection. EVD cases were detected in 4 separate areas, resulting in > 270 contacts monitored. The complete genome of the causative agent, a variant from the Zaireebolavirus species, denoted Ebola virus Muyembe, was obtained using next-generation sequencing. This variant is genetically closest, with 98.73% homology, to the Ebola virus Mayinga variant isolated from the first DRC outbreaks in 1976–1977. Conclusion A single spillover event into the human population is responsible for this DRC outbreak. Human-to-human transmission resulted in limited dissemination of the causative agent, a novel Ebola virus variant closely related to the initial Mayinga variant isolated in 1976–1977 in the DRC.
  • Screening of asymptomatic rheumatic heart disease among refugee/migrant children and youths in Italy.

    Condemi, F; Rossi, G; Miguel, L; Pagano, A; Zamatto, F; Marini, S; Romeo, F; De Maio, G (BioMed Central, 2019-04-02)
    Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a chronic condition responsible of congestive heart failure, stroke and arrhythmia. Almost eradicated in high-income countries (HIC), it persists in low- and middle-income countries. The purpose of the study was to assess the feasibility and meaningfulness of ultrasound-based RHD screening among the population of unaccompanied foreign minors in Italy and determine the burden of asymptomatic RHD among this discrete population. From February 2016 to January 2018, Médecins Sans Frontières conducted a weekly mobile screening by echocardiography in reception centers and family houses for unaccompanied foreign minors in Rome, followed by fix echocardiographic retesting for those resulting positive at screening. 'Definite' and 'borderline' cases were defined according to the World Hearth Federation criteria. Six hundred fifty-three individuals (13-26 years old) were screened; 95.6% were below 18 years old (624/653). Six 'definite RHD' were identified at screening, yielding a detection rate of 9.2‰ (95% CI 4.1-20.3‰), while 285 (436.4‰) were defined as 'borderline' (95% CI 398.8-474.9‰). Out of 172 "non-negative borderline" cases available for being retested (113 "non-negative borderline" lost in follow-up), additional 11 were categorized as 'definite RHD', for a total of 17 'definite RHD', yielding a final prevalence of 26.0‰ (95% CI 16.2-41.5‰) (17/653), and 122 (122/653) were confirmed as 'borderline' (final prevalence of 186.8‰, 95% CI 158.7-218.7). In multivariate logistic regression analysis the presence of systolic murmur was a strong predictor for both 'borderline' (OR 4.3 [2.8-6.5]) and 'definite RHD' (OR 5.2 [1.7-15.2]), while no specific country/geographic area of origin was statistically associated with an increased risk of latent, asymptomatic RHD. Screening for RHD among the unaccompanied migrant minors in Italy proved to be feasible. The burden of 'definite RHD' was similar to that identified in resource-poor settings, while the prevalence of 'borderline' cases was higher than reported in other studies. In view of these findings, the health system of high-income countries, hosting migrants and asylum seekers, are urged to adopt screening for RHD in particular among the silent and marginalized population of refugee and migrant children.

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